Scandinavian countries might not capture the news bytes across the world for their political ambitions, but they have definitely presented themselves as the best places to live in the world. The historical and geographical region – that include Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland – has impressed the world with its remarkable human development.
In the UNDP HDR 2006, Norway secured the first position gaining the highest position in life expectancy at birth and gross enrolment at all levels of education. Sweden ranked 6th in life expectancy rate (80.3 years). Denmark, Norway and Finland ranked second, third and fourth in school enrolment indices. Again, in Corruption Perception Index 2006, Finland was positioned as the least corrupt country in the world. Though Scandinavian tax rates are amongst the highest in the world, governments there have set phenomenal examples of social welfare. The Finnish education system, for example, has a lot to teach to the world. Primary and secondary education is compulsory; in addition, free tuition for full time students and free meals for primary and secondary students are indubitably exemplar benchmarks. OECD’s international assessment of student performance has listed students from Finland amongst the best performers. Healthcare system and pension plans for the old are unique. Health services from birth to 18 are free and accessible to every family regardless of their socio-economic status.
Scandinavia has become the ideal role for global governments in providing the best public services in health, education and overall social welfare for its citizens. Oh, before we forget, we thought we’d mention that a nation like Norway also is globally number one on per capita GDP. It’s perhaps time for blind supporters of profit-driven capitalism to think about a new term – “Happy Capitalism!”